A punch for an Oscars party: Boston Club Punch

This is the punch for my Oscars party this year, derived from David Wondrich’s wonderful book Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl Hardcover. As he notes, it is “fearsomely complex” to make. But wonderful. The recipe below is what worked for me. Not counting step # 3, I’d say this took about 45 minutes from beginning to end.

BOSTON CLUB PUNCH (of Carondelet Street, New Orleans, c. 1890)

7 oz. organic (fine-grained) granulated sugar
4 oranges
1/3 of a pineapple, diced
6 oz. raspberry syrup
2 oz. cognac
2 oz. kirschwasser, Luxardo, or other cherry liqueur
1 oz. Smith & Cross rum
1 oz. Curaçao
2 bottles of champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
2 pints semi-dry white wine, chilled
1-2 liters sparkling water

  1. The day before serving, freeze a large ice mold for the punchbowl.
  2. Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl, preferably one with with a pour spout. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin from the oranges and place in the bowl with the sugar.
  3. Muddle thoroughly and let sit at room temperature, covered, for at least an hour. The longer it sits, the more intense the flavor will be.orange_sugar
  4. Juice the oranges. Blend the orange juice and pineapple in a food processor until liquefied. Pour over the sugar mixture and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Remove the orange peels (squeezing to remove any syrup) and discard.
  6. Place a large funnel lined with one layer of cheesecloth over a large jug. Pour the syrup mixture through the funnel. Squeeze the cheesecloth gently but firmly to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the champagne, wine, and sparkling water) to the jug. Refrigerate this punch stock until serving time.
  8. When you’re ready to serve the punch, place the ice in the punchbowl and then add the punch stock. Slowly pour in the champagne and wine. Top off with as much sparkling water as the punchbowl can comfortably accommodate, and serve.
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